Watch Kids' Reviews of
DRONYA'S ARTIFICES

What to know: Beautiful music and unique storyline.
DRONYA
Recommended age 8-18
90 minutes
FeatureFilm
KATERINA BALABAY
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DRONYA
I love the beautiful music and unique storyline of Dronya's Artifices. I learned quite a bit about Ukrainian culture from this movie and found the number of alternate plots, nuanced characters and deep messages that were compacted into one hour and 30 minutes to be astounding.

Ukrainian preteen Dronya has to draw his focus away from his main passion: coding the next revolutionary app for a nationwide contest (with the prize of an internship at a prestigious IT company) when his parents sign him up for summer camp. The overarching aim of this summer camp? A competition to see which group of campers shows unity, teamwork and creativity. Throughout the camp, Dronya grows as a person and develops an appreciation for Ukrainian culture... but then he realizes that not all is as it seems.

There are so many plots and subplots in this film, but fortunately the director and screenwriter Katerina Balabay manages to isolate each one and provide them with equal amounts of depth. From the internal and external conflicts of the characters to the overarching camp storyline, every element of Dronya's Artifices is captured perfectly. I do not speak Ukrainian, but the script design and overall messaging of the characters are deep enough to not be hindered by the exceedingly-literal closed captions.

The cinematography in this Ukrainian film is of very high quality. I could see some of the camera shots in this film being used in a Hollywood movie. There are no dimly-lit shots; all of the colors are perfectly balanced and the camera's focus is maintained throughout the film. I especially love the bokeh effect added to the smooth transitions between scenes. For example, in one shot, when the characters run off-camera, the camera descends into a field and focuses on a single blade of grass. When the characters are learning to paint in the style of Petrykivka, the emphasis placed on the plates and the many colors by the cameras is pleasing to the eye. I also love the style of filmography in many of the bike-riding shots, as they emphasized the vibrant surroundings, but also the movement of the characters.

For the most part, the children wear clothes that we would see in 2020. My favorite costumes are the traditional Ukrainian blouses and tunics which Mariana, a villager, and her family make and wear and then gifted to the kids. All of the costumes are relevant to the storyline and time period. Dronya's Artifices is set primarily in the Petrykivka region of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast (Province) in central Ukraine, but also contains some scenes from a large city, which appear to be Kyiv, the capital. The setting is very unique and brings a rarely seen angle to the film. The quaint Ukrainian huts, intricate paintings and beautiful countryside enhance the viewing experience greatly.

The music of this film really drives the action and can be seen as a marker of each plot point. The music is a mix of electro music and pop. Some songs have a horror element to them, and some have a more traditional Ukrainian feel to them. I love the soundtrack, although the audio quality dims slightly for a few minutes after each song. Voices and applause also seem a bit muffled. Katerina Balabay is the screenwriter, songwriter, producer and director of the film. Her screenwriting skills really show in this film. Boris Sevastyanov is the composer of the soundtrack of this film and Yurii Krasiuk is the director of photography.

Dronya is played by Stepan Kravets whose believable acting and strong delivery make his performance an enjoyable one. Sashko is played by Zachary Savelyev, and you can't help but want him to be your friend by the end of the movie. Julia Konik plays Ira, a camp counselor that is desperate to make her mother, Larissa Alexandrivna, head of the camp. Her performance is possibly the most emotionally compelling of all.

This film has so many positive messages. Throughout the film characters promote the idea of unity, cooperation, never giving up, trying new things, being resourceful, companionship and always having an appetite to learn. It shows us so much about Ukranian culture, folk music and Petrykivka paintings. I particularly benjoyed the section about the Petrykivka paintings. The setting is gorgeous, the song associated with it is great, and I enjoyed learning more about the UNESCO-certified decorative painting style.

I give Dronya's Artifices 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 8 to 18, plus adults. Besides being a multicultural film, Dronya's Artifices is enjoyable to watch because of the high production quality and believable acting. Reviewed by Eshaan Mani, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic

I love the beautiful music and unique storyline of Dronya's Artifices. I learned quite a bit about Ukrainian culture from this movie and found the number of alternate plots, nuanced characters and deep messages that were compacted into one hour and 30 minutes to be astounding.

Ukrainian preteen Dronya has to draw his focus away from his main passion: coding the next revolutionary app for a nationwide contest (with the prize of an internship at a prestigious IT company) when his parents sign him up for summer camp. The overarching aim of this summer camp? A competition to see which group of campers shows unity, teamwork and creativity. Throughout the camp, Dronya grows as a person and develops an appreciation for Ukrainian culture... but then he realizes that not all is as it seems.

There are so many plots and subplots in this film, but fortunately the director and screenwriter Katerina Balabay manages to isolate each one and provide them with equal amounts of depth. From the internal and external conflicts of the characters to the overarching camp storyline, every element of Dronya's Artifices is captured perfectly. I do not speak Ukrainian, but the script design and overall messaging of the characters are deep enough to not be hindered by the exceedingly-literal closed captions.

The cinematography in this Ukrainian film is of very high quality. I could see some of the camera shots in this film being used in a Hollywood movie. There are no dimly-lit shots; all of the colors are perfectly balanced and the camera's focus is maintained throughout the film. I especially love the bokeh effect added to the smooth transitions between scenes. For example, in one shot, when the characters run off-camera, the camera descends into a field and focuses on a single blade of grass. When the characters are learning to paint in the style of Petrykivka, the emphasis placed on the plates and the many colors by the cameras is pleasing to the eye. I also love the style of filmography in many of the bike-riding shots, as they emphasized the vibrant surroundings, but also the movement of the characters.

For the most part, the children wear clothes that we would see in 2020. My favorite costumes are the traditional Ukrainian blouses and tunics which Mariana, a villager, and her family make and wear and then gifted to the kids. All of the costumes are relevant to the storyline and time period. Dronya's Artifices is set primarily in the Petrykivka region of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast (Province) in central Ukraine, but also contains some scenes from a large city, which appear to be Kyiv, the capital. The setting is very unique and brings a rarely seen angle to the film. The quaint Ukrainian huts, intricate paintings and beautiful countryside enhance the viewing experience greatly.

The music of this film really drives the action and can be seen as a marker of each plot point. The music is a mix of electro music and pop. Some songs have a horror element to them, and some have a more traditional Ukrainian feel to them. I love the soundtrack, although the audio quality dims slightly for a few minutes after each song. Voices and applause also seem a bit muffled. Katerina Balabay is the screenwriter, songwriter, producer and director of the film. Her screenwriting skills really show in this film. Boris Sevastyanov is the composer of the soundtrack of this film and Yurii Krasiuk is the director of photography.

Dronya is played by Stepan Kravets whose believable acting and strong delivery make his performance an enjoyable one. Sashko is played by Zachary Savelyev, and you can't help but want him to be your friend by the end of the movie. Julia Konik plays Ira, a camp counselor that is desperate to make her mother, Larissa Alexandrivna, head of the camp. Her performance is possibly the most emotionally compelling of all.

This film has so many positive messages. Throughout the film characters promote the idea of unity, cooperation, never giving up, trying new things, being resourceful, companionship and always having an appetite to learn. It shows us so much about Ukranian culture, folk music and Petrykivka paintings. I particularly benjoyed the section about the Petrykivka paintings. The setting is gorgeous, the song associated with it is great, and I enjoyed learning more about the UNESCO-certified decorative painting style.

I give Dronya's Artifices 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 8 to 18, plus adults. Besides being a multicultural film, Dronya's Artifices is enjoyable to watch because of the high production quality and believable acting. Reviewed by Eshaan Mani, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic

An eleven-years old boy Dronya most of all wants to win the competition of young programmers and go for education in the well-known IT-company. But parents sent Dronya to the summer camp, where the contest for a title of the best squad is taking place. Dronya and his new friends are challenged ahead a not easy task - to win the competition.
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